Updated: Jul 19
Like many of the readers of the Marina Del Ray Blog, I too sailed in the “Sail Indonesia Rally” in 2007.
After semi retiring in 2006, I bought a 51-foot Bennetau from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and began the job of preparing her for an around the world adventure.
About 90 Yachts set sail from Darwin Australia that year who had joined the Rally because paying for it meant we could get social sponsorship from the private rally organizing company which was for the 60-day social visa that was needed to enter Kupang Timor.
During the welcome dinner that was sponsored by members of the Indonesian Government. I notice young impoverished children peering at all the Rally Participants eating and drinking merrily.
Since I was a teenager in Melbourne Australia, I had enjoyed surfing much of Bali and Lombok over the years as a tourist. My last visit was 25 years ago surfing “Ekas” on the south west coast of Lombok that someday I would visit Indonesia in my own yacht.
After the welcome ceremony, a small band of cruisers departed the rally group and made our way towards Bali. We held up in Lombok and the northern Gili islands and had a ball as our Visa’s were at nearing the end and we had to continue west towards Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
My crew and I took a detour and sailed south from Gili Trawangan because I was a keen surfer and wanted to surf the “world-famous surf break” called “Desert Point” which is considered in the top ten left handers in the world due to the shape of Lombok’s south west cape.
It was in its eastly bay we discovered the “Secret Southern”, 13 Gili Islands that help form an amazing bay now known as “Port Gili Gede” where I, and my local friends, built where Marina Del Ray is now. And the why is because its safest undeveloped harbor in Indonesia, the only world’s largest chain of 17500 islands that don’t have cyclones and Typhoons and where summer is every day.
After sailing onwards to Langkawi and Phuket and spending three seasons sailing to West Sumatra and there amazing islands on Sumatra, I found myself alone at Brents Sailing club in
Bay reading a newspaper article on the front page of the “Singapore Straights” that the President of Indonesia, Pak Jokowi, was seeking foreign know how and investment to help establish Marinas for his countries Marina Tourism opportunities.
It was then I remembered Gili Gede and decided to Buy our first 2600 square meters of land where currently our head office and members facilities are currently located.
That was in 2011 and it took six years of campaigning to the federal government in Jakarta to finally receive permission to build what is Marina Del Ray.
That investment led to the current laws that foreign yachts enjoy here in Indonesia. Since 2019 foreign yachts are able to stay in Indonesia for three years because of our investment as well other positive changes made to help showcase “Wonderful Indonesia” to the world!
After successfully completing stage one of our Masterplan, we officially opened www.marindelray.co
Our occupancy quickly reached 80% until in April 2020 the effects of the Plandemic forced Australians and many other countries to stop their regular migration around the globe.
Most of our guests were forced to quarantine and over the next three years we like to think, we helped many cruisers during those extremely difficult times.
I am proud to say that despite the enormous financial difficulties, Marina Del Ray, still looks beautiful and safe as we await again the return of the world’s sailors.
Captain Raymond La Fontaine
(Australian) founder and
CEO PT Marine Del Ray